Five testing laboratories led by Germany’s Fraunhofer ISE have begun a ‘round robin’ project to test the effects of ultraviolet light on polymer backsheet materials. Initial results indicate a route to accurate accelerated testing of backsheet UV stability over module lifetimes of 20 years-plus.
Asier Ukar, director of the Spanish unit of German technical advisory PI Berlin, tells pv magazine about his experiences of conducting quality control inspections in Chinese factories during the global pandemic.
The 11th edition of the German document which tracks solar price falls and efficiency improvements has considered the role bigger wafers are playing in cost reduction.
Scientists in Germany have developed a “heavy duty” test to provide insight into the long term effects of potential induced degradation in PV modules. The tests go well beyond those established by IEC standards and seek to guide manufacturers and investors on the best choice of materials – encapsulants in particular – when it comes to long term PID resistance.
An international research team has defined the operational parameters needed to design and manufacture crystalline silicon PV modules for tropical climates. The group proposed a back-junction, back-contact cell tech with a selective laser soldering technique it claims offers the best potential to yield such robust panels.
A new, non-destructive method has been proposed by researchers in India who say identifying early-stage discoloration in EVA encapsulants can help detect degradation in solar panels before power output is affected. The scientists used an ultraviolet accelerated aging test during 34 days on three encapsulant samples.
The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory examined five-year data to observe the most common system failure points and how to prevent them. Researchers considered residential, commercial and utility scale plants and found interesting results. While failures cannot be avoided completely, a key takeaway was that close monitoring and timely repair can effectively mitigate the financial effects of failures.
Researchers in Pakistan have evaluated the impact of shading on inverter set-ups to assess PV system performance. Tests were conducted on a 51 kW system featuring SMA inverter topologies but the researchers say the findings could be applied to products from other manufacturers. The results showed the number of maximum power point trackers is important but levelized cost of energy calculations are also crucial to selecting the right inverter configuration.
Reports of module under-performance at the Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska solar project have prompted a response from South African company Artsolar, one of the module suppliers for the plant. The project is said to be experiencing serious problems due to premature module degradation. Divian Govendar, CEO of Johannesburg-based Artsolar, said the company has not been required to replace any modules at the site.
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